Using information (and exformation) to inform action

Lefrere, Paul (2011). Using information (and exformation) to inform action. In: Ramage, Magnus and Chapman, David eds. Perspectives on Information. Routledge Studies in Library and Information Science. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, pp. 77–90.



In this chapter I argue for cross-disciplinary perspectives on how we think about and manage information (in the sense of data that is not previously known, either by us, or by our intended audience), and link this to . Common knowledge is a precise formulation
of the everyday assumption that some parts of what we know are known to other people and so need not be made explicit to them. Those parts can be excised, as exformation (parts of a message that can be removed by the sender, prior to transmission, without
affecting the ability of recipients to understand the import of the message). In discussing those concepts and their implications, I consider the effects of some relevant human biases and social conventions on how we acquire, interpret, contest, discard, model and use information to inform action (in the formal sense of reasoned choice as well as its everyday sense). To make this concrete, and to highlight the importance of disagreements, I use some brief case studies.

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